DIIV are all grown up and back at it.
The indie rock band, who came together in 2011, have switched coasts — farewell Brooklyn, hello Los Angeles — and sport a laid-back attitude to match their new California home. DIIV will perform at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix this Saturday, October 12, in support of their third album, Deceiver.
It has been almost four years since the group toured together on their last album in 2016, Is the Is Are, which was voted one of the “Top 50 Albums of 2016” by Pitchfork's readers.
"We were rehearsing some of the older songs today, to get ready. It's pretty interesting to see how we got here from there. It’s not all that different," says vocalist and bassist Colin Caulfield to Phoenix New Times. "The core elements of the band and music are still intact — very similar to before, but evolved."
The band have gone through their share of tough times. In 2014, then band member Devin Ruben Perez provoked public outrage when he posted sexist, homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic remarks on 4chan.
Lead vocalist Zachary Cole Smith immediately denounced the behavior, tweeting, "I will never EVER tolerate sexism, racism, homophobia, bullying, or bigotry of any kind. I'm doing everything to get to the bottom of this."
DIIV have since parted ways with Perez and declined to comment on the matter during our interview.
Smith has also battled some demons of his own. He posted on DIIV's Instagram in February 2017 that he was "checking in now for a long-haul inpatient treatment... see you all on the other side, I love you forever, you know who yous [sic] are." Smith remained open with fans about his journey to recovery, posting six months later, in front of an enormous Miller High Life advertisement, "living the real high life today — 6 months clean/sober — time (doesn't) fly but in all reality my life is so much better for it."
"I don’t think we had really grown up until kind of recently. The music industry allows you to make lots of excuses for yourself," says Smith. "We made a lot of mistakes and still get to do what we do. I think it allows this weird perpetual adolescence. The music reflects how we’ve grown up in the last couple of years. We all did a lot of growing up and pulled that together for this album. We have a pretty fresh perspective on life in general, and we apply that to the way that we play, write music, approach touring."
The first single the group released from Deceiver, "Skin Game," croons, "I can see you've had some struggles lately. Hey man, I've had mine too." That vulnerability is one of the ways DIIV have been able to connect with their loyal fan base.
"The reception has been very positive. A lot of very hardcore fans hit us up in the DMs. If they don’t like something, they’re not afraid to say that. It's not what they were expecting, but better than they imagined," says guitarist Andrew Bailey.
"We're most excited about playing the new songs," adds drummer Ben Newman. "The approach is different. We've been spending a lot more time in the practice space. Also, it has been almost four years since we’ve been on the road. The feeling is a cliché: When you’re on the road, wanting to be home, and when home, wanting to be on the road."
Despite the winding path which has brought them here, the group seem at peace.
"We all moved to a new place, I think that is part of what allowed us to make the record the way we did," says Smith. "I think we’ve all had really good and really bad times in New York. We always still kind of feel like a New York band in some way. We’re living in California — East L.A. It’s been a really healthy move for all of us."
DIIV are scheduled to perform on Saturday, October 12, at The Rebel Lounge. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.